Deter says deforestation migrates from the Amazon to the Cerrado in 2023

fevereiro, 01 2024

There was a 50% drop in deforestation alerts in the Amazon compared to the previous year; growth was 44% in the Cerrado compared to 2022
By WWF-Brazil

The release of Deter data - a monitoring system from Inpe (National Institute for Space Research) - for the month of December 2023 allows us to prove that the effort to combat deforestation in the Amazon resulted in significant drops over the past year. On the other hand, the data indicates the transfer of destruction to the Cerrado. 
In total, Deter's deforestation alerts covered an area of 5,153 km² throughout 2023 in the Legal Amazon - a 50% drop compared to the previous year and the lowest level since 2018.  In the opposite direction, a loss of 7,852 km² of native vegetation in the Cerrado was ascertained - an increase of 44% compared to 2022. This is the largest area deforested in the Cerrado since the beginning of Deter in the biome, in 2018. 
"The perception that savannas are less important than forests and therefore, allow higher rates of deforestation, is mistaken and is leading us to serious environmental problems. In the case of the Brazilian Cerrado, we are risking the water tank that feeds two thirds of the country's main river basins - a country that, it is worth remembering, also depends on water for energy security and not just food and water security", points out Daniel E. Silva, conservation specialist at WWF-Brazil. 
The second largest biome, the Cerrado contributes around 40% of all freshwater in the country. Our savannah is home to approximately 5% of all species on the planet, making it one of the most biodiverse places on Earth. Almost half (40%) are endemic species.  
"The Cerrado has already lost half of its native vegetation. Each additional hectare of deforestation increases the risk of compromising the biome's capacity to store water. From a climatic point of view, the risk is equally dramatic, as the Cerrado is like an inverted forest, which stores carbon underground. If this stock is released, we could make the Paris climate agreement's goal of keeping the planet's warming to 1.5°C unfeasible”, warns Daniel Silva. “We came very close to this level last year, which was the hottest year since the industrial era, with disastrous consequences in several parts of the planet, including in Brazil, where the 2023/2024 agricultural harvest is not expected to reach projections due to climate factors. Continuing to deforest is putting agribusiness - and the entire Brazilian economy - at risk", highlights the expert. 
The main driver of deforestation in Brazil is agricultural expansion. In the Cerrado, the Forest Code is more permissible than in the Amazon, so a significant part of the destruction has legal authorizations provided by municipal and state governments. 
The drop in deforestation in the Amazon throughout 2023 shows how it is possible to reverse this trend. However, in the case of the Cerrado, it is necessary to engage local governments and agribusiness companies in implementing good production practices, recovering the huge amount of degraded land, and increasing productivity. Brazil already has enough open areas to meet production demand until 2050 without cutting down any trees. 

There was a loss of 7,852 km² of native vegetation in the Cerrado - an increase of 44% compared to 2022
© Moisés Muálem/WWF-Brasil